Meghan told ‘baby is our grandchild’ as she visits Grenfell cookbook kitchen

The Duchess of Sussex told cooks at a community kitchen of her pride in their work, as they lovingly told her that her baby will be considered their “grandchild”.

Meghan made a return visit to the west London kitchen which inspired her collaborative work on a Grenfell charity cookbook.

It was her first official trip to the Hubb Community Kitchen, not far from the site of the deadly tower block blaze in west London.

Duchess of Sussex
Duchess of Sussex

She had previously paid a number of secret visits before the cookbook was published in September.

It was the first time many of the women had seen the expectant mother since her pregnancy was announced, and they were quick to congratulate her on the happy news.

Ahlam Saeid, whose family recipe of rainbow roasted vegetables Meghan helped prepare at the kitchen, told of her of her joy.

After meeting Meghan the 61-year-old grandmother, who is originally from Iraq, said: “I told her this is our grandchild, we are so happy. The whole community. And she is so happy.”

Meghan, who spent about 45 minutes at the kitchen, was also given a traditional Ugandan cloth to wrap around her stomach in the months after she gives birth.

Munira Mahmud said she explained briefly to Meghan what the navy blue fabric was before she left the kitchen.

Duchess of Sussex
Duchess of Sussex

She said: “Much of what we are doing is based on tradition. I thought what could be better to get her than the wrap. She was over the moon, she was really happy.”

The mother-of-two, 34, is one of the women motivated by the growing kitchen project to start up a new scheme, providing new mothers with healthy, fresh and nutritious meals.

She said: “I told her ‘I can’t wait to cook for you after you have the baby’. One of my projects is cooking good food for mothers after they have their babies.”

🌍 The inclusive ethos of Together has resonated all over the world, and inspired people not just to buy the book, but to cook, eat and gather in their own communities.

— Kensington Palace (@KensingtonRoyal) November 21, 2018

She added that Meghan said she would be happy to enjoy her meals.

During the visit, to see first hand the progress made since the Together cookbook went on sale, Meghan was keen to lend a helping hand.

She took off her Club Monaco burgundy coat and rolled up the sleeves of her matching dress, put on an apron and a pair of gloves and began mixing vegetables with her hands.

Duchess of Sussex
Duchess of Sussex

Bumper sales of the cookbook, which features more than 50 recipes from women whose community was affected by the fire, have allowed a total makeover of the kitchen as well as longer opening hours.

Meghan, who suggested the idea of a fundraising cookbook when she first met the women, has previously described it as a “tremendous labour of love”.

The book took the number one spot on Amazon within hours of being unveiled two months ago and has since sold nearly 40,000 copies in the UK alone, raising £210,000.

Duchess of Sussex
Duchess of Sussex

The kitchen, redesigned with the women’s input to capture its spirit as a place for the community to come together over meals, now opens seven days a week, up from just two when it began last year.

Those involved have also been able to obtain food hygiene qualifications and been empowered to start their own projects for the benefit of the wider community.

Projects, supported by the social entrepreneur foundation UnLtd, include a group for women affected by domestic violence and a project to produce healthy treats for children.

Duchess of Sussex
Duchess of Sussex

Sipping ginger tea as she listened to some of the women’s plans for the future Meghan said: “I’m so proud of you. It’s really exciting.”

On Wednesday 200 meals being prepared in the kitchen were destined for local groups, including elderly people’s homes, homeless shelters and women’s refuges.

The dishes included Egyptian lamb fattah, Persian chicken and barberry rice, and Meghan helped box and label slices of chocolate cake as well as the mixed vegetables.

She also introduced chef Clare Smyth, a friend, to the volunteers in the kitchen.

The Co Antrim-born chef, who now lives in London and has a restaurant near the community facility, described the people involved in the kitchen as “incredible”.

She said: “If everyone took care of their community like this there would be no issues in the world.”

Ms Smith said Meghan had spoken with passion about the kitchen.

“She’s really into food, she’s a real foodie.”

Ms Mahmud said she hoped Meghan would continue to be involved in the project.

She said: “She makes you feel you are part of her. She is so down to earth.”